Tension is mounting at St Augustine Preparatory School in Mombasa over alleged attempts by an influential private developer to seize part of school land for estate development.
The school founded in 1964 is owned by the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).
The school community has vowed to do everything within their ability to protect the school land and accused an influential private developer of constant harassment and encroachment.
The school’s Board of Management and Parents Association met on Monday to chart a way forward claiming that the private developer had made several unsuccessful attempts to hive off part of the school land.
The institution’s headmistress Ms Serah Kessi told journalists that hired goons have started clearing a section of the school land behind the girl’s dormitory where they were planting coconut trees.
She reckoned that the private developer who is the proprietor of a neighbouring hospitality facility was using security guards and ferocious dogs to scare the school community into submission.
Ms. Kessi said the school management has in the past sought the help of the National land Commission (NLC) over the encroachment matter.
“NLC Chairman Mohamad Swazuri was here and has directed that the private developer discontinues his encroachment activities,” she said showing reporters the tittle deed proving that the land was indeed the property of the school.
She said if the encroachment menace is not checked, the church-owned school will no longer have a playing field for children or space for expansion.
The Board of Management Chairperson Ms. Betty Maneno said they will need the support of everybody in defense of the school land. The school, she added was an academic giant that had produced many prominent Kenyans.
Ms. Maneno a retired teacher and a long serving commissioner with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said encroachment of school land in the country should be stopped as it affected the quality of education besides hindering expansion.
Tudor Ward Member of the County Assembly (MCA) Tobias Samba who visited the affected institution decried increased school land grabbing in the coastal city.
He said education stakeholders need to be firm in defending school land at all times saying land grabbing had adverse effects on learners’ future.